Tag Archives: Christian Life

Christian, Just Stop It

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. – I Peter 2:1-3 (NASB)

We come up with all kinds of excuses for our sins, don’t we? I know that I’ve come up with more than I can recall. Yet, here in I Peter, we are instructed, not to excuse our sin, but to rid ourselves of it. How?

How are Christians to get up out of bed and daily face the world, demonstrating, exhibiting and therefore proving that we have new life in Christ Jesus? Turns out the answer to abandoning our sin is far less complicated than we often make it.

The key is the word apotithēmi. It is a Greek word meaning (literally or figuratively) to put off, put aside or away. It comes from two Greek words: apo, meaning off, and tithēmi, meaning place. The verb itself gives the imagery of removing a garment, taking a piece of clothing off. What’s interesting is that first word, translated malice, is kakia, and means badness or wickedness. [These are all plural nouns]. That pretty much covers all sins, doesn’t it?

What Peter is telling his readers is pretty clear. Put all malice, hypocrisy, envy and all slander aside. Cast it away. If he had told them to put aside their sandles, they would take them off their feet and lay them aside. If he had told them to put aside whatever is in their mouth they would spit it out. If he had told them to put aside their shirt or hat, they would have taken them off and laid them aside. Simple, isn’t it?

Basically, he is telling them to stop it. Just stop it.

There is no instruction for contemplating, meditating or vacillating. No need for lengthy counseling sessions. No need for checking ourselves in to some type of spiritual rehab center. His instruction is clear: Stop these things.

In light of Romans 6, we know that the power of sin has been broken. it is no longer our tyrannical master, no longer has the hold on us that it once had. Because of this, we can say ‘No’ to sin. So when peter tells them, and us, to stop it, we can. Likewise, when a Christian does sin, it is because we, as Christians, have chosen to.

For the unbeliever, being told to “stop it” just doesn’t help at all, because the power of sin remains – it’s all they can do. But for we who believe and are being saved, ah! brethren! we need not go through any process of contemplation on anything.

As Christians, the first step to furthering our spiritual growth is that we simply need to trust and obey, which in this case, is to simply take a sin and….stop it.

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7 Things I’ve Learned from the Amish

big-amish-family

Recently, we received a card from an old-order Amish family. It reminded me of our time spent with them over the years along with other Amish friends that we’ve made in Lancaster, PA.

After I read the card, I couldn’t help but smile. We have had good times up there over the years, and we rarely come home to Virginia without learning something beneficial to our own lives.

I’ve been thinking recently how much we as Christians can learn from them. It’s true that, generally speaking, all Amish are not Christian. To think so would be a stretch of the imagination. Equally absurd is to think that none of them are. Yet, even the unregenerate Amish have some beneficial things to teach Christians.

Now before anyone gets all sanctimonious and hypocritically pious on me about learning from unregenerates, stop and think. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you know everything. It doesn’t mean we have nothing to learn from those who have not been born again, and it certainly doesn’t mean – even though most young, hot-headed, new Calvinists gang-bangers may think otherwise – that we should look down our noses on anyone. Grace, remember? No, for those who are wondering, we have no desire to become Amish. But we can and should learn from them.

As I thought of our time with Amish friends, certain aspects of their lifestyle came to mind, and it almost put me to shame that they – even those who are not saved – were in some ways, living a more biblical lifestyle than Christians. For example:

1.) They do without modern technology like electricity. Oh, they have lights, but it comes from their own sources like diesel generators, air-compressors and batteries. I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone hanging a battery operated hand drill on a hook – that had a light bulb attached to it. That in itself is nothing biblical, but what I saw missing in this regard was television. In every home we’ve visited, it’s pretty quiet – except for the laughing of children, the sounds of birds, horses, cows and God’s creation in general. You know, I think maybe unsaved Amish enjoy God’s creation more than some Christians obsessed with technological gizmos and being virtually inseparable from TV, iPhones and such. How about turning off the TV on occasion and remembering what real life is like? It does a body good, trust me.

2.) There are no clothes dryers. They hang their clothes outside on a line and let the wind dry them. They smell clean. No artificial chemicals dousing their clothes with lab-tested, man-made odors. And it’s free. You want to talk about being good stewards of money?

3.) The Amish love to visit. Conversation. Enjoying the company of others. Pure hospitality. In the Bible, hospitality is a huge thing. Read the book of Acts. Not these days. I can’t remember the last time a Christian family asked my family over for supper, or a simple visit. That’s sad.

4.) The family table. Oh man. Supper in an Amish home is home-cooked, fresh and hearty. How many Christians throw something in a micro-wave and zap some chemically manufactured gruel for the family to eat? Seriously? I don’t think everyone does that of course, but how many do? Where has the effort gone, the care and love that should go into the family meal? The family gathering, the family time together? I can honestly say I’ve never left an Amish home hungry and dissatisfied, either with the meal or the company.

5.) Gardens. Virtually weed-free. Kids work hard because they’ve had a strong puritan work-ethic instilled in them. Fresh vegetables grown for the family, by the family. Enough said.

6.) Cooperation. Multiple families often get together and do mundane, outside chores that need to be done for one family. It gets done quicker and there is fellowship, exercise and everyone benefits. People work hard for others, and they enjoy it. There is a leisure in hard work.

7.) Family time. Without all the distractions of modern life, and there is plenty of it, you can see it in their faces, hear it in their laughter and see their hearts expression in the care and concern for others. I’d rather sit in the home of an Amish family with children holding spoons, waiting eagerly for ice-cream than be invited to the biggest, most popular “reformed/Calvinistic” conference in America. Hands down. There is simple, unashamed, childlike joy, and I have seen it over and over again.

No, the Amish are not perfect. They are not all saved. They will not all go to heaven. But they live a lifestyle that, in many cases, are far more biblical than some Christian circles. We can learn from them, and if we do not, is it not a matter of the sin of pride?

Individual Responsibility

The moral decline of America continues unabated. The governing powers manifest this immoral state. Contributing factors are many, but one stands out in my own mind. It is that of individual responsibility. It is as scarce as hen’s teeth in this ‘modern progressive’ society.

People today are irresponsible beyond belief when compared to the early years of our nation, and not too many years back. Today, people depend on others to control their fat and calorie intake, refusing to take personal responsibility for their own health and well being. No one forces them to eat junky, fake, manufactured ‘food’, but people eat it anyway, because to them, it is the responsibility of the producers of the garbage eaten to determine how much is consumed. The same folks, bless their hearts, prefer to search for processed and manufactured foods off the grocery shelves for fat and calorie free products – which are poisoning them – rather than get off their rear-ends and exercise the body to keep the blubber off. Then they have the audacity to proclaim, “I’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work.” Ignorance and irresponsibility.

In the realm of child safety, parents are not willing to be personally responsible for their children. Oh no, they turn this over to industry or big government bureaucrats. Every toy, the house and everything in it now requires a warning label for parents in regard to the safety of their children. Parents have stopped thinking, and now let others do the thinking for them – without even thinking about it! Whatever happened to the mother and father having the responsibility for the welfare of their offspring? Who needs a warning label to tell a responsible parent that certain objects, if swallowed by a child (who will put just about anything in their mouths), could result in choking? Seriously? The child is not going to read the warning label, and if the child chokes, instead of the parent taking responsibility for their neglect and irresponsibility, they sue the manufacturer! It has almost become a return to the ancient times of the Greeks and Romans, when parents were relieved of child rearing and the children were turned over to a paid teacher. Of course, the government and government-run schools have assumed the role for this present, irresponsible age.

According to Scripture, child rearing is a personal responsibility of the parents. One of the sad sins of David is recorded in I Kings, chapter one. David, in regard to one of his own children, Adonijah, who sought to be king in violation of God’s revealed will, was charged with a terrible crime:

His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. (1:6).

This was the direct result of a father not taking personal and individual responsibility for the life and welfare of his offspring. Ephesians, chapters 5 and 6 speak volumes to those who would be responsible for the family, the vital element of a stable society, and who profess to follow Christ and His teachings.

Sadly, vast numbers of those who profess Christ, have abandoned His teaching and turned to the priests of the world, the psychologists and the Dr. Spock’s, for instruction. Certainly, to those who are truly followers of Christ, there is no better instruction for every member of the family than that which is given in the epistle of Ephesians. Sparing the rod has spoiled the children and failed to instill personal responsibility. You see then, how ‘modern progress’ has perverted the truth.

Where is the personal responsibility for workers who handle dangerous tools and work in places where danger is always present? Does anyone really need to tell you that a chain saw can be dangerous? Do you need a warning label to tell you that it might kill a man? Does anyone need to be told that a tree being felled poses a life danger when being cut? Or that a ‘widow maker’, a rotten limb high in the tree which the wind could bring down on your head, may cause death or serious discomfort? If workers took personal responsibility, there would be no need for the state or OSHA to protect you. Caution and due diligence when working with tools and potentially dangerous situations is your own responsibility. What happened that the present generation is so devoid of this individual and self-sufficient approach to  life? Where are the parents to instill this thinking into a child’s mind and heart, and who depend on the grace of God to make it stick?

The powers that be have created a welfare state in which to maintain their greedy grip upon the population and control events to their advantage, and to their shame, irresponsible adults let them. Whatever happened to the common sense and Scriptural warning to man in Proverbs:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. – Proverbs 6:6-8

Whatever happened to the Biblical work ethic which was established in the Paradise of God before the fall of man? Whatever happened to the mandate of the Christian faith which declares, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). If you’re not willing to work, you should be really hungry right now. It ought to be clear to all that the hippie generation of Hillary and Bill Clinton have long rejected these mandates of liberty and well-being for a godless state in which tradition and the true biblical faith are to have no place. They not only wish for a totalitarian state, but a one world government of man at the exclusion of God.

Thomas Edison, who was a thinker, when asked a question as to where he got all of his ideas, stated: “One percent of the people think. Nine percent think they think and ninety percent never think.” I have no idea where he got his statistics, but he may well have been right. The present generation is willing to let big government do all the thinking for them. People without personal experience and responsibility doing the thinking for those who have both. What a circus.

Where are the prudent souls, the wise, for this day of national crisis? The foolish abound who will believe the lie; that black is white and white is black; that, like a lapdog, will be faithful to others who drop crumbs from the rich man’s table.

But whatever happened to individual responsibility? There will be no stability in our nation until there is a return to this vital ingredient of personal and individual responsibility for our own actions.This present generation seems to have given up their liberties to those who will do the thinking for them. If you happen to be one of these, you do know what it means do you not?

It means you have an incredibly low view of Scripture and of God, for ignoring His Word which tells us to take responsibility for our actions, and for thinking for ourselves.

If you will not think for yourselves, you have made your bed, go and lie down, enslaved, and wait to die.